“Theoretically, planning may be good. But nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity - and until they do (and find the cure), all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.”
Richard Feynman

What Do You Care What Other People Think?

Limited Expression

n

words are a limited exression of thought

thought is a limited experience of experience

experience is a limited expression of life

life is a limited expression of presence

and presence?

Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Vata here, Vata there, Vata Vata everywhere

n

Its winter – the peak of winter. Yesterday we had clear blue skies and the moon shone bright throughout the night. Which means that its freezing outside, possibly -20c or ever lower. It’s jut past 8am and I am sitting in bed writing this post. I didn’t sleep well though I did manage to rest (as is the case on many nights).

I got up and put on a first thermal layer of clothes. Not because it’s too cold (it is one of those freezing mornings, however the thermal mass of the rocket has managed to keep the room from getting too cold) but because the daily routine ahead will involve going out a few times and I want to do so comfortably and retain my body heat throughout the day. Also the hall-kitchen and bathroom are unheated, ie. freezing cold and I do have to pee and then make tea.

I try to be efficient (I don’t like waiting). I pour water from the water-filter into the kettle, turn on the kettle and then refill the water filter with water from the semi-frozen buckets sitting on the floor (our water supply is not working – frozen). I then go back into the room and begin to light the rocket. I put in a few of thin pieces to get it going, light them and then put in a few more chunkier pieces sitting on top of the stove to dry (not too many so as not to choke the fire). I then move a few more pieces of wood from the pile on the floor to the stove-top so that they will continue to dry.

I then take my cup out to the kitchen, dump the old tea bag into the compost bin and take out a new one. I carefully pour hot water into it – the small filter on the kettle is half clogged with sediment from out hard-water – I’ll clean it later. I walk back into the room where we keep the honey and a spoon – I add honey (it’s very thick and solid) and let it sit in the hot water while I feed the rocket again. I then come back to the tea, mix it, place the spoon back on the honey-jar and place the cup on the floor next to the bed.

I will have to revisit the rocket stove almost every 10-15 minutes (we are using scrap soft-wood which doesn’t last very long, had it been a hard-wood it would have lasted maybe even twice as long) to feed it with more wood (and move more wood on top to dry) for the next 2 or 3 hours.  I have already done so twice three four five times since I began writing this post.  At one point I will have to bring in more firewood (which I prepared the night before in a box in the hall). This will repeat itself twice more during the day (though for less time – as it is easier to keep the rocket warm then it is to get is started in the morning).

Andreea, still sleeping next to me, may wake up soon. She will want attention, I will want to give it to her. She will ask me to make her coffee … it is very likely that I will part happily and part grudingly make it for her. There is a good chance I will join her this morning (I have been moving away from coffee again, haven’t had any coffee for almost 2 weeks and do enjoy a bit now and again).  So there is a good chance this post will not be completed this morning … or ever. It’s not in my hands.

The day will include a few more multi-detailed routines. The animals need care. The car will need to be started (so we can go and pick up our fresh milk from the village) and because of the freezing temperatures it won’t start and will require another ceremony that will last a few hours of patient back and forth. I may go out and do some more wood cutting and as we are using scraps it is disharmonious process (I need to pick out useful scraps, they are filled with nails, I need to cut them to length with the mitre saw carefully around the nails, pile the cuttings in the wheelbarrow, move them close to the house, dump them, cut them to smaller pieces with a axe, collect the pieces into the wheelbarrow and organize them in storage next to the house) compared to straightforward wood chopping.

I was looking forward to a restful winter. I was looking forward to getting back on the mat, to resuming a Pranayama practice. No luck so far. Overall it is a period of rest from physical work. However, mentally it is a very demanding period. Very noisy, very disturbing. It has been impossible, so far, to bring myself to a quiet, clean, warm and distraction free state of mind in which I can practice. Life has been and continues to be an unrelenting off-the-mat practice.

I am in full experience and full awareness of a dominant vata moving in me. There is an intense vibration – there is an intense change, a change I asked for and walked into willingly. I believe it manifests most in my restless nights and in my emotional body where I fluctuate between remoteness and intensity.

However, for some reason, it hasn’t taken me over and I don’t feel it doing so. I feel contained … disturbed but contained. I am also not helpless about the situation. I constantly try to make it better by (a) introducing routine and (b) improving the way I do things … making them simpler and more comfortable. Instead of trying to overpower the movements in my mind I am trying to divert them into a steadier flow … not so much changing their intensity but rather their quality. In retrospect this seems to be a simple alchemical formula of transforming turbulent flow into smoother flow. Tasks that were disturbing to me a few weeks ago are still there but more peaceful … dare I say meditative?

However I do believe that my long term health will be much improved and better maintained by reconnecting with my on-the-mat practices. It may take a few years to get there and until then I am very happy to find that years of quality teachings and practices have insinuated deep into my consciousness and are now flowering to support me in this intense period of change.

I continue to be grateful to my teachers and the precious teachings they have shared with me. Teachings that go beyond obvious manifestations of Yoga and appear in the form of a practical consciousness that supports my life.

Andrea is up and the rocket needs feeding … and this post has been birthed into the world 🙂

 

Posted in Expanding, inside, Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Intellect Run Amok

n

I often have a critical view towards intellect. It seems to me that intellect has become a destructive presence in this day and age. So many modern day infrastructures that we may take for granted are intellectual monuments. Finance, Law, Medicine come to mind (ironically these were the supposedly “most cherished occupations” in the minds of parents of my generation) – all hugely elaborate and complex systems that are intellectual products of our times. Yet, in my mind, these three (and many others) are not only failing to support humanity at large but actually working against it – attacking it.

My stubborn insistence that all is good in the world … forces me to ask why this is so? Is there something that I am missing? If not, how am I misinterpreting my perception of the world? This time these questions came to my mind as I was beginning to collect notes for another post. And this time, I remembered to go back to Robert Pirsig where I feel I have found, once again, some comfort.

Robert Pirsig suggests that at the beginning of the 20th century, society (at least western society) went through a shift from social dominance to intellectual dominance. The test of what was good shifted from ‘Does it meet society’s approval?’ to ‘Does it meet the approval of our intellect?’.

“… November 11, 1918 … the end of World War I … President Woodrow Wilson belonged in both worlds, Victorian society and the new intellectual world of the 20th century: the only university professor ever to be elected president of the United States. Before Wilson’s time academicians has been peripheral within the Victorian power structure … intellectuals were not expected to run society itself. They were valued servants of society … Leadership was for practical, businesslike ‘men of affairs’.” read more

But apparently that revolution didn’t hold out very long. Intellect was premature:

“The intellectuals had preempted all the causes. Causes were to the 20th century intellectuals as manners had been to Victorians … They had everything figured out … ‘pursuit of happiness’ seemed to have become like the pursuit of some scientifically created mechanical rabbit that moves ahead at whatever speed it is being pursued. If you ever did catch it for a few moments it had a peculiar synthetic, technological taste that made the pursuit seem senseless.” read more

And ultimately the freedom it had achieved backfired on itself:

“… The Hippie revolution of the 60’s was a moral revolution against both society and intellectuality … children of well-to-do … people of the world who suddenly turned upon their parents & schools & society with a hatred no one could have believed existed …” read more

I believe that, as Robert Pirsig suggests, we are still deep in the clutches of a moral void. However, intellect has not stood still – it has shot forward in the hands of social institution such as academics and business. Intellect is sprinting to the future yet it never took the time to learn to walk. Intellect forgot to forge a healthy relationship with the society which it serves and upon which it stands. Try to imagine the USA  as a country without its constitution – it would have no purpose (to fight for, to fight against, to refine). Such is the state of intelect:

“The intellect’s evolutionary purpose has never been to discover an ultimate meaning of the universe. That is a relatively recent fad. It’s historical purpose has been to help a society find food,detect danger, and defeat enemies. It can do this well or poorly, depending on the concepts it invents for this purpose … Knowledge has grown away from this historic purpose and become an end in itself, just as society has grown away from it’s original purpose of preserving physical human beings … and this growing away … towards greater Quality is a moral growth. But those original purposes are still there. And when things get lost … it is useful to remember that point of departure.” read more

This explains to me why it seems (to me) that so many core social institutions we expect to support us in life seem to be working against us. This is why so much intellectual artifacts feel like, what I like to call, intellectual masturbations (it feels good thinking it but is ultimately useless or even destructive).

I suppose, in my spirit of embracing a goodness of the world, that there will be two artifacts to this untamed energy. The first is that sometime in the future it will bring us to social disaster (personally I feel we are really close if not already there). The second is that we will have at our disposal tremendous tools, born of rigorous intellectual efforts, to support us in crisis and to help us get through it and grow into a better future.

Final note: Though it felt extraneous to the central theme of this post I do feel it is worth noting that Robert Pirsig further suggest that the social moral values that surfaced in place of replaced the Victorian ones that were ousted by intellectuals were ultimately adopted from the next best and conveniently neighboring society: native Indians who it seems have since been trampled into dirt.

 

Posted in Expanding, inside, Intellect Run Amok, Quality | You are welcome to read 9 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-02-05

n
  • to our malfunctioning chainsaw we can now add a malfunctioning water pump … not pleasant #
  • especially given the freezing temperatures that hit us today -17c … deep breath, patience, faith #
  • crystal clear night sky = tomorrow is going to be freezing with a slight chance of just cold #
  • How to Pile Hay? I don't know (yet) but … http://t.co/fEIFbyTa #romania #
  • "The dollar we plunk down at the supermarket checkout is first and foremost a vote – for more of the same." #
  • "Not surprisingly, health care costs have tracked the food cost trend, but in the opposite direction" Matthew O'Hayer #
  • chainsaw in the shop, water pump frozen (defrosting indoors) and the car won't start in this freezing (yet sunny) weather #
  • http://t.co/xHAaJZ9k report: cold, no running water, no car, no chainsaw … good spirits 🙂 #
  • feminism = female reaction to male dominance = male dominance … feminine is so much … more … when it simply IS #
  • @bashert54 @JihadiJew when did the "lovers" take ownership of God away from the "haters"? did the "haters" approve of this? #
  • @JihadiJew @bashert54 could be. but could also be that the revolution is an illusion? how can we tell? #
  • it's either much colder today or there is an accumulative effect … difficult getting the room warm #
  • @JihadiJew maybe first you should try to tell the difference between cynicism and a critical or opposing view? #
  • @JihadiJew it is easier to differentiate between (perceived) extreme opposites (Jihadi – Jew) than more subtle differences #
  • stepped outside to feed the dogs and let the flock out … ran back indoors … soooo cold #
  • turns out ignorance isn't bliss http://t.co/mNEQeJ4s #
  • @raymondpirouz curiously I wasn't thinking of capitalism when I was writing this … maybe consumerism but not capitalism #
  • @raymondpirouz however it would seem that capitalism has attracted and empowered the fearful and greedy #
  • @raymondpirouz if u r allergic to cats you don't bring them into the house … if we want to cure societies from fear and greed …??? #
  • @bashert54 @JihadiJew yes we can tell when our hearts r open. no world does not need repairing … that would suggest He messed up in deed #
  • @bashert54 @JihadiJew love does not equal truth, truth and hate are both temporary expressions of a more profound movement #
  • @bashert54 @JihadiJew how bout … we are gifted with an invitation to constantly strive towards that which is better #
  • @bashert54 we don't have to live as "messy" creatures in "his perfect" world … such a negative outlook cannot be His intention #
  • http://t.co/IgVtKdkd report: freezing temperatures continue to wreak havoc with infrastructures … still peaceful and smiling 🙂 #
  • just found out that the freezing temperatures is not just here … people dying … sheesh and I am complaining about no running water #
  • @raymondpirouz I hope there's time for that … I'm not convinced that there is #
  • back to reading about chickens and breeding vegetables 🙂 #
  • being cold brings makes me scared #
  • no it doesn't really make me scared … it does however conjure up fear #
  • unclear if we'll be able to get running water before spring … looks like the system is frozen in two places … very very yucky #
  • @raymondpirouz well at least now its clear why twitter didn't join SOPA protest … it is pro-censorship #
  • @raymondpirouz there's that fear & greed again … Twitter chooses (remains true to) business over Internet freedom … a parasite! #
  • much discomfort has come with the freezing temperatures, 2day I was reminded why I can contain it http://t.co/qhzMWvyS cc @raymondpirouz #
  • yesterday's snowfall and cloud cover lowered temperatures and together with an overnight car battery charger got the car started … relief #
  • now I need to finish clearing out the garage … AGAIN there go my plans for a peaceful day inside … oh well #
  • @raymondpirouz unfortunately I believe Facebook is in a much stronger position of exploitation then Google … hence the "value" #

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Turns out Ignorance isn’t Bliss

n

Amazing to watch a society self-combust:

“Three days of national mourning have been declared by the authorities in Egypt after at least 74 people died in clashes between rival football fans in the city of Port Said. Hundreds more were injured as fans invaded the pitch after a match between top-tier clubs … Protest marches are being planned for Thursday against the police’s inability to contain the violence … Police in Egypt have been keeping a much lower profile since last year’s popular protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power.”

When you are an individual, for example – a drug addict, you can try and turn to your friends or family and ask them to protect you from yourself. Who can a (just revolutionized) society turn to when it kills its own people and then demands of itself to protect it from itself? I doubt this is curable … most likely a dying culture (and they are not the only ones). Maybe instead of three days of national morning bullshit they should have a day of rememberance of the Mayans or some other forgotten culture that thought it would last forever and self-combusted.

Posted in AltEco, outside, Uncategorized | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-29

n
  • @JihadiJew I would ask the "temperate" rabbi what is the seed in HIS system of faith that grew and evolved into an orthodox perversion #
  • @JihadiJew No offense meant at all. I believe that extreme expressions are manifestations of subtle seeds #
  • @JihadiJew I believe that religion is general, Judaism included (I got a good taste of it) sows fields of destructive seeds #
  • @JihadiJew so I fin it somewhat hypocritical when a rabbi (not u, the 1 who wrote the article) comments on extreme orthodox behavior #
  • @JihadiJew when you pee into the wind you shouldn't be surprised to find that you've wet yourself #
  • @JihadiJew in the end … I think that article was a cheap shot by a religious man trying to show that religion can be forward thinking #
  • @JihadiJew & forward thinking can move forward much better without looking back for justifications & confirmations in religious texts #
  • @JihadiJew religion has had its time and filled its role and now its time to move on #
  • building an #Earthship in a cold climate – STOP NOW !!! and get acquainted with Passive Annual Heat Storage: http://t.co/G946aRZn #
  • @raymondpirouz yuppie bullshit … won't work … but will definitely sell lots of green plastic 🙂 #
  • every time I encounter the word "coaching" I get a creepy feeling that something destructive is going to happen #
  • if, say, all lawyers were to be killed by drowning, I would want to see coaches tied to them as weights #
  • @raymondpirouz so many (too many?) things fall to comfortably under that statement 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz interesting to see China closed off to western capital and its consequences #
  • @raymondpirouz indeed … so far it has done a crude job of it … here's to a future of sustainable comfort 🙂 #
  • a day of numbers in the village: http://t.co/AQSVzYK4 #romania #
  • @raymondpirouz some thoughts on comfort http://t.co/wxNCMdmQ what do Apple's exploits in China and Romanian peasants have in common? #
  • yesterday I finally did the electric wiring for bed-side sockets, now I have a place to plugin my metronome – 1 step closer to pranayama 🙂 #

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Comfort: Apple in China & Potatoes in Romania

n

Raymond set me off (again) on a trajectory of thought (which is why I keep in touch with him). He sent out a link to a “green” designer product for growing food in an apartment. I had already come across “the green product” a few weeks ago and I called it out for what I think it is – yuppie bullshit – a “green” feel-good fashion product (I wonder if it will come with an iPhone app) that will fail to do what it sets out to do but will surely sell loads of useless green-plastic.

To this Raymond ultimately replied with Comfort is one of modernity’s biggest promises!

… and here we go!

Potatoes in Romania

Yesterday I posted, in humurous spirit, some amusing and interesting numbers that appeared in one day of arrangements in the village. The last part of the post was less humurous and leads into this one.

Our neighbors, a charming and pleasant couple with a lovely teenage daughter (who spends weekends and vacations here at home with her parents and lives the rest of the time in another village close to a nearby city living with her grandmother so she can go to a better school then the one here), are farmers who make a small living from selling their produce in two city markets. They are real farmers – they actually do all their work with their bare hands. They are well organized and work a relatively small plot of 1.5 hectares. She has occassionaly had to work during the winter months (when there is much less work to do at home) in other European countries to make more money so they could, for example, buy a car. They have managed to gradually create a comfortable and pleasant home (central heating, running water, toilet with septic tank, etc.).

They exist in a Romania that is under, what I perceive to be an, attack of western commercialization and industrialization. Cities are overtaken by large super-market chains that offer imported produce all year long in a comfortable environment – heated, sheltered from the rain, pleasantly organized and offering overwhelming variety. These super-markets are spread throughout the city neighborhoods offering both easy walking distance to many and spacious parking lots to everyone else.

These super-markets lure people away from the more traditional farmers-markets which have traditionally been a main supply of food to the city (this, mind you, compared to other more advanced countries where farmers-markets are just coming into fashion) . However it doesn’t stop there. Over recent year, cities (often corruptly managed, like many public services and institutions in Romania – a social residue of communist / dictatorship times) have decided to “upgrade” farmers-markets. Where once there were open spaces with stands, now there are closed mall-like spaces (sometimes with an attached mall with, you guessed it, a super-market) which are more “comfortable” for consumers. Usually these spaces end up in the hands of someone connected to the corrupt-local government. When once farmers paid a small symbolic fee for selling their produce in the market (in our once-a-week village market – farmers pay a token 1 lei for a space in the market) now they are charged outrageous fees (100 euros a month for 2 or 3 days a week).

Between the “comfortable” super-markets and the now “comfortable” farmers-markets local produce is being driven out of the city. Obviously this is bad news for the farmers who make a meager living from selling their produce and are driven into further poverty. Its also bad news for city people who are being drawn away from much healthier local produce to industrialized foods that travel great distances. “Comfort” is being traded for poverty, health and sustainability.

Worst of all, and for the most part unnoticed, is that an entire culture of self sufficiency is being wiped out. Villages are being driven into poverty, ageing and dying. Youth are flocking to the cities. It’s only a matter of time before the knowledge of how to grow food will fade and cease to be a common thing.

Apple in China

Then, a short time later Raymond sent out a link to a CNN article about a couple of NYTimes articles about the abusive conduct of Apple and its gigantic supply and manufacturing chain. They tell a story in which many thousands of Chinese are enslaved (the word slavery isn’t mentioned, its elegantly avoided) by greedy corporations. Its well written but (to me) completely predictable.

I was tempted to pull out quotes and highlights, but there are simply too many to choose from. So go ahead and knock yourself out and read the two articles How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work and In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad … I did.

Feeding on the Poor

I do however want to make a connection between the two stories. I believe that both exemplify a similar injustice – one on a local scale the other on an international scale. Both phenomena are possible because there is a rich upper class willing and able to feed on a poor lower class.

Our neighbors, though self sufficient, have to generate some income. They are farmers because that is what they know how to do – that is a given default when you are a peasant. Food is a reliable market place – everyone has to eat. The farmers-market business is simply a social medium – where supply and demand can meet. It can be governed to create an efficient and frictionless mechanism (an efficient low cost space where farmers can setup tables for their produce, in our weekly village market peasants pay a symbolic 1 lei for setting up in the market). It can also be governed as an abusive obstacle course designed to suck life out of it – as is the prevalent situation in Romanian cities.

A similar situation exists in China. Slavery pays better then no income. In a world where money is key to quality-of-life (food and shelter) … being a slave is an attractive option. Foxconn in China is an example of a place of business where supply and demand meet. It could be governed to create an efficient and frictionless mechanism (Apple has enough profit margin to share with its suppliers and for its suppliers to share with its workers). It can also be governed as an abusive obstacle course designed to suck life out of it – as it the prevalent situation in Apple (and apparently many other consumer electronics brands) which, by design, sets minimal profit margins in China.

In both cases:

  • Choice lies in the hands of those who mediate and control capital.
  • Greed has been the prevalent motivation.
  • Greed has been funded by consumers who are “comfortable” with the way things are.

Consumers

That last point is where the NYTimes articles fall short. The CNN article suggested that the NYTimes article may be a contender for the Pulitzer prize. I hope not. It is a sensational article that does not go the extra mile – the last mile. It is easy and fashionable to take a punch at economy when it is down. It would be much less popular to take a jab at the primary financiers of the failing economical machines – the consumers without whom no company would exist let alone be able to commit crimes we love to read about.

In Romania consumers have fallen for the industrialized food comfort-trap. They are becoming used to and dependent on it even though prices are constantly on the rise and quality in decline.

In the west consumers have fallen (deeper) into their own consumption trap and technology fad. They are becoming used to and dependent on it even though they know these devices are manufactured using human slavery.

In both of the scenarios consumers have the power to change things but are inhibited by a temporary “comfort” they have gained. That will change … for some, realization will come too late.

For King & Country?

In the not too distant history of humanity war used to be a romantic notion. It was a noble concept to subvert life to social concepts of king and country (heck, I was raised in Israel under the influence of an attempted brainwash that dying for your country is a worthy cause) . Two world wars wore out such romantic notions.

War was then subverted to supposedly higher, more intelligent purposes. It was, until very recently, quite acceptable to sacrifice lives for things such as human rights, freedom of speech, or freedom of oil. Yet that too is going out of fashion.

War is now taking on a new form. Maybe the most devious expression of violence to date? It is no longer fought by armies of trained soldiers but rather by armies of trained consumers. Consumers who like reading about the atrocities their most popularly branded company (Apple) commits against their fellow humans in China – its slave workers. Consumers who particularly like to read about these atrocities on their latest (soon to be upgraded) Apple made iPad devices – reading articles written by authors who like to write on their slick Apple made notebooks.

Yes dear Apple worshippers & consumers, dear Steve Jobs fans, dear Software & Product designers who grant Apple the highest of accolades. A veil of popular, intelectual, self-serving, fashion of comfort is blinding you from the fact that YOU are the most sophisticated criminals against humanity the human race has yet to produce. You are blinded by the superficial, you pursue and uphold aesthetics at the expense of purpose and dharma.

Your “comfort” has been gained at a terrible price. You who value a scratch-resistant screen in time for your Christmas shopping over the living conditions of fellow humans that make those screens (we had a blackout protest to protect internet freedom,and I’ve seen a call for twitter blackout to protest their censorship, yet I don’t see anybody calling for a ban on Apple products). You think that a few thousand poor enslaved Chinese are paying the price. But you don’t see that it is you who have paid the dearest price. The Chinese are better off then you. They know who their enslavers are, you do not.

How comfortable is your “comfort”? How much longer do you think you’ll be able to fool yourself?

Claimer: I am proud to have never owned a beautiful Apple product.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Quality, Romania | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-22

n

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Defeated?

n

A few days ago Andreea told me about a comment that was left on our Bhudeva Romanian speaking website. It was from a Romanian woman who had been following Andreea’s website Feminitate and then discovered Bhudeva where she learned about our life-journey here in Romania. She feels remote, alienated and isolated in her life and is also looking to make a change and was inspired by our efforts and wrote to share that with us.

In her comment she mentioned that others in her social circles speak about “the likes of us”  as people who were defeated by society and that moving out to the village is an act of surrender. I have to admit that at first and in a round-about way this rang true. We were not offended by the idea but it did continue to move in me.

This morning my thoughts on this came into focus. I followed a link that appeared in my Twitter feed with an invitation to join a free online-event with a practitioner and teacher of non-violent communication. I read the post, I browsed around the website some more. There was a spark of interest in me. Then there appeared technical difficulties – the seminar would have required me to dial in (expensive and not really possible for us since we are not in the USA and don’t yet have a decent Internet connection), the time difference placed it in the middle of the night … so the spark began to fade.

Yet even with the spark dimmed I continued to observe. First I asked myself what is it that interests me. I found a basic curiosity and an inherent movement in me that still surfaces now and again to connect with and maybe contribute to others. Then the spark was gone. I am simply not interested any more.

I participated in society in the past. At the same time my consciousness changed … I believe for the better. Then I could no longer participate, I could only try to participate … and for the most part failed. And my consciousness continued to change … I believe for the better. Then I left society.

Is this defeat?

I can see how the societies I lived in would view this as a defeat – as in “society defeated me”. I had different views, different values, I was very critical – that could be perceived as a threat to society and  therefore my departure could be viewed as a defeat.

I could also choose to see this as a defeat of society – as in “I defeated society”. I felt a huge oppressive force before leaving. It was threatening to me – it made me feel stagnated, unworthy. It almost put out my motivation to live. I struggled against it (sometimes not knowing I was struggling nor what I was struggling with) … a long and difficult and unrelenting struggle. In the end I managed to break free from it. I defeated it.

I could also choose to see this as a self-defeating act of society – as in “society defeated itself”. I believe I had (still have) something to contibute to society. I believe that by “defeating” me society may have lost a precious resource – an agent of change. Societies are in a constant struggle to get better. To move away from stagnant and often obsolete patterns towards better ones. Despite my harsh criticism (which I offer and view as contribution) of the societies I left behind I cannot deny that I am their child – they created me. They gave me a set of tools and sent me out to explore the world. I came back with discoveries and society rejected those discoveries together with me. Yes, I can see that as a self-defeating act of society.

But I do not see defeat. I do see peaceful resolution. Though I live purposefuly remote from society I do not disillusion myself into thinking I can live outside of society. I can and choose to live on the fringe. A comment from an unknown woman living in a far away city tells me that from the fringe I am also a contributing member of a society. I have stuck to my views and values and in doing so it seems I have gravitated toward a correct relationship with society. It seems that I have found my  place in society after all. I may not reach many people, I do look forward to reaching the right ones.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Romania | You are welcome to add your comment

Together, Aware

n

Discipline is a skill, a quality … it isn’t inherently a good or bad thing. Like any other skill it can be functional or dysfunctional.

We are living a life where discipline is required. We chose this life … well not exactly this life but an unknown life … the unknown life we arrived at requires discipline. Many things are transient, they are not as we would want them to be, they can be made better … it takes time. Living this way can be less comfortable and requires more effort. Discipline is a motivation for effort that compensates for lack of comfort.

Discipline is a quality I have. She does not.

This, in a natural flow, shifts effort on to my shoulders and away from hers.

Many times I don’t like this. It makes me angry. It makes me tired … physically and emotionally.

It demands more of me. More discipline.

Her lack of discipline pushes me into further developing and practicing my own discipline.

It makes me spiritually stronger.

My strengthened discipline further feeds her lack of discipline. The more I can do the less she needs to.

We both know this. We experience friction because of it. We talk about it.

This is a movement we created together. It strengthens me and weakens her.

I don’t want to weaken her. I want her to be stronger. She wants to be stronger.

We are aware. We are together.

 

Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

There is a War

n

Again I find myself floating between two worlds – online and offline. Though my life is a rich mixture of the two, they are two almost distinct worlds with very little overlap between them. People who exist in one do not exist in the other. Important events that dominate one are at best marginal in the other.

As I write these words a war is raging online. I have come to view it as an important event because it will effect the lives of both worlds regardless of how ignorant of it the offline world may be. This war originated (as many wars seem to be these days) in the USA where the entertainment industry, under the guise of protecting itself from content piracy, is lobbying to pass legislation that will maim the Free Internet. These bills are known as SOPA & PIPA.

My attention came to focus on this issue at first via Fred Wilson and then via the WordPress News Blog. At first I filed this news in my “Problems of the western world I left behind” folder. It seemed in alignment with my overall impression that the USA is a messed up place and society and so I let it go at that. But then I realized that (a) the Internet, though dominated by USA culture, is a global & borderless phenomenon and (b) that regardless of how messed up the USA is, it is still a social/political/legislative role model for other countries – many follow its lead despite its poor, sometimes disastarous, consequences. This video (included in the above mentioned WordPress post) sums it up nicely:

The Free Internet has and continues to play a huge role in my life. I am in an ongoing process of re-educating myself and creating a new life. My school for all these things, except for a small library of books (all of which were discovered online), is the Free Internet where other like-hearted individuals can share their experiences and wisdom so that others, myself included, may benefit from it. As is often the case, I am both a consumer and contributor in this ecosystem.

Othen then its technical workings (computers, networks, software and regulations that make the Internet possible) there is no social or government in the Free Internet. I choose what to contribute to it and I choose what to consume from it.

Note: the same technical system that makes the Free Internet possible is also used by corportaions to make islands (some as large as continents) where this freedom is systemically revoked. These islands, much like the rules of governance to which they are subverted, are an inhibited form of freedom that is subverted to other, usually commercial purposes. I believe these areas of the Internet to be a dangerous illusion of freedom because (a) people do not recognize the illusions – they pay no taxes that remind them of the presence of a governing body and (b) that governing body is a corporate entity who’s interests and purpose are supportive of only those aspects of freedom that can be exploited and opposed to aspects of freedom that may inhibit exploitation. I strongly encourage participation in the Free Internet I vehemently discourage participation in its compromised-freedom-inhibiting areas.

So I am no longer indifferent to the war raging in the USA SOPA/PIPA debate. This post is an expression of my position. In case you are from my offline world then please note that my freedom to publish this post and yours to read it is an expression of the Freedom at stake. This is an example of what this war is about. The opposition in this war would have this post declared illegal and me a criminal if I were to, say, embed this video in it:

This post was published on January 17th, right before a blackout protest planned for tomorrow, January 18th. One prominent participant of this protest is Wikipedia and I am adding this link as a testament of the event. I thought to participate in this event but was initially put off by the technnical effort required for me to do so – had there been a plugin that provided a safe blackout and an explanation of the blackout I may have used it. But I don’t know of one.

So instead I’ve had an opportunity to contemplate my motivation to participate in the blackout and this is what came of it:

My last place of residence in Israel was in the north – in an area where Jewish and Arab villages are mixed and scattered. As a safety precaution the Jewish villages are surrounded by a fence with one or more guarded gates. When we would return to the village after midnight the gate would be closed and a guard would let us in. I found it amusing that in the Jewish state of Israel the Jews are fenced in (powerful historical reference) and the Arabs are roaming free. It is an ironical consequence of freedom.

I believe that there is a similar irony in blacking-out the Free Internet to protect it. I would like to see an opposite protest. I’d like to see the major forces, let’s call them (with some drama) Freedom Haters, who are supportive of the Free Internet use their inherent freedoms to black out those who would take away that freedom. I’d like to see Twitter and Facebook black-out companies and politicians who are outspoken Freedom Haters. I’d like Google to deny advertising rights to them. They deserve a place in legal terms-of-service, they are more lethal then spam or pornogoraphy. I’d like to see those  Freedom Haters, when their freedom has been denied, cornered into arguing for freedom.

For the record, I’d like to pre-empt an argument that one cannot inhibit freedom-of-expression to protect freedom-of-expression by (a) calling it out as faulty intellectual morality and (b) pointing out that that is EXACTLY what the opposition in this war is doing, it doesn’t make it right, but is does prove that one CAN do so – denying it is a dangerous misperception – the morality of the question can only be resolved by going back to purpose and motivation – doing so to inhibit freedom is wrong, doing it to protect freedom is right.

Posted in AltEco, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to add your comment

Good Advice

n

What is Good Advice?

Anything that comes to me with an abrupt sense of clarity, emotional dispassion and a clear path of communication. Good advice comes to me suddenly and with a powerful urge to share. I don’t always immediately understand advice that appears to me. Understanding may come later from within me or as feedback from the person to whom my advice is offered, or never at all.

Advice I give feels to me like echoes from another person’s consciousness bouncing within my own consciousness. It isn’t so much something I have to offer but more of a reflection that passes through me of another.

When does Good Advice Appear?

When I have someone I care about in my mind and heart. Usually it comes when I am in a sense of space – as if floating just above reality – listening but not quite hearing. It can occur during a face to face conversation or long after. When it is delayed, I find myself preoccupied with the person in heart, almost as if that person was present with me.

When do I Give Advice?

When I am asked and if good advice is present. Then, either as soon as it appears or shortly after. Good advice is a subtle substance, it quickly fades and I am not motivated to hold on to it. It may reappear but that is out of my hands.

How do I Give Advice?

Dispassionately. I find that if I have any attachment to advice I give, it is less likely to be heard. My own attachments taint and distort an otherwise clear reflection.

With care. Good advice can penetrate deep. If it is handled with care it can be injurious. If I am unable to call upon care I refrain from offering advice.

Is Good Advice Received Well?

If it good, fresh, timely and properly delivered then Yes. I do not expect advice that comes through me to be embraced. Good advice, even though may ring true, isn’t necessarily pleasant to hear or comfortable to apply. Good advice needs time to penetrate and reverberate. A seed of good advice may sprout soon after, long after, in another lifetime or never.

Good advice is only mine to give. As it comes to me so it goes.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Quality | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-15

n
  • Yoga can wreck much more than your body http://t.co/IG7PQjke cc: @YogaStudies #
  • b4 we start to fix the world we should first observe what is it inside us that gets satisfaction from thinking the world needs fixing #
  • WordPress 3.3 media uploader – another example of developers developing for developers http://t.co/2RO8tSjI cc @WordPress #
  • it looks like our gals have started laying eggs too 🙂 3 new eggs today #
  • @lifeinromania re: Indians http://t.co/IlQtzEzb and if you haven't you really must read Lila http://t.co/32tS9BiI #
  • @lifeinromania The "Western Romania" is indeed dying, but there is a traditional Romania (peasants) in which there CAN be a beautiful future #
  • water infrastructure series continues – this time lots of underground digging works: http://t.co/VqKECZKR #
  • huge relief: the puppy has stopped peeing like a bitch and is proudly raising his leg … for a while there we thought he wouldn't get it #
  • the honey at the bottom of the jar … pour hot water into the jar, shake it up and you've got sweetened tea water 🙂 #
  • content is more valuable then SEO … don't take my word for it … here it is directly from Google: http://t.co/P5AmOoZR #
  • @dallasclayton have you heard Daniel Johnston http://t.co/i3oSW1m3 ? #
  • Feminitate passes 1,000,000 page views and exemplifies the miraculous potential of a Dharma driven website: http://t.co/OsNuGJvY #
  • thought: male has a doorway through discipline, female has a doorway through womb #
  • I am getting better at distinguishing between male/female and man/woman #
  • I live with a powerful feminine presence and an intense woman … and if I confuse the two I can get in big trouble! #
  • suddenly http://t.co/cYFb6Icv #
  • Israel did have good music and good wine #
  • and music is lovely in a cob house … soft walls make beautiful sound … and speaking of cob #
  • want to see cob at work … walk outside our house a bit, collect mud on boots then walk through some hay = brick on foot #
  • @dallasclayton from when I was naive 🙂 flowers: http://t.co/7hSauXLa #
  • our ducks are maturing & its so easy to mistake their sexual behavior as violence #
  • not all cookie crumbs are created equal #
  • day started with slush, then rain, then sunshine and now a snow-storm (my first) … all in a 6 hour period of time #
  • huh … and I had plans to cut some firewood with the chainsaw today … huh huh double huh #
  • @shanacarp depends on how many chips chip off and make it to the crumb pile! #
  • delicate beautiful color palette outside: http://t.co/fFHUBlJB #
  • "The teacher needs a system of possibilities, a map, but the needs of the student [a journey] are paramount." Paul Harvey @YogaStudies #
  • "I do not care, and I do not care, and I do not care." a fantastic report from CES http://t.co/qUXAbNr0 #
  • @suifaijohnmak Facebook doesn't know a thing about me: http://t.co/G1Bi8sRr #
  • daily http://t.co/IgVtKdkd report: divine intervention #

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A Safe Online Presence

n

My twitter stream turned up these two videos regarding Facebook.

If you haven’t already seen it (I think it went pretty viral when it came out) then you may also want to view this fabulous video.

Facebook is dangerous. Period. It isn’t just Facebook, its ANY ONLINE SERVICE  that services you (usually free of charge) in exchange for a little (at first) piece of your life. Facebook simply happens to be the most vicious service that preys upon the largest group of people who are unaware of it’s predatorial motivations cheated out of their privacy.

The second video suggests that things would be somehow OK if Facebook were simply to adopt a privay policy in which:

What happens in the Facebook stays in the Facebook.

That suggestion is an expression of the most lethal aspect of Facebook. It isn’t so much the ignorance of the suggestion itself (the purpose of Facebook as a business is to make a profit off private information – expecting it to do otherwise is like asking it to terminate itself – not very likely). The greatest danger about Facebook is the absurd thought of even its open-eyed critics that they have a voice about how Facebook should behave.

Claimer: The more I think about it the more I realize it isn’t fair to blame this on Facebook (though it is satisfying) – it is actually a dangerous illusion fostered by modern day “free thinking” cultures.

The only voice you have regarding Facebook is through your participation in or abstenance of it. Period:

  • Participation = support (all in – there are no half measures).
  • Abstenance = objection.
  • Leaving = protest
  • Get others to leave or stay away = rebellion.

If you participate in it and speak against it thinking you can change it you are either ignorant or insincere full of shit.

However I do believe it is important that you do have an online presence. The ONLY way I know of to have a safe online presence is to (1) own (=pay for) it; (2) use open-source software that is not owned and cannot be accessed by any other person or corporate or other legal entity; (3) be thoughtful and vigilant about what you publish online.

It should be said that, as with everything in life, “Safe” is a relative term. The kind of online presence described aboveis still vulnerable on two fronts – legal and illegal. Legal channels may enable others to access your information – though in most modern legal systems (ahum) this requires a vigorous process of justification. Illegal channels are basically hackers breaking in.

My online  presence (the website you are now visiting) is compromised of (a) renting space on an online server; (b) running my site on WordPress and (c) adhering to a strict policy of a deliberately intimate sharing of my life without exposure of technical-bureaucratic offline information about me or my online social circles … and you still no nothing about me:

My only deviation of this policy comes from using Twitter – but I do so in a limited way and with the hope that WordPress will eventually offer an alternative to it’s social interaction (meanwhile I make it a point to collect and archive my Twitter activity within my WordPress website).

I invite and urge you to get your own WordPress website. WordPress still isn’t a substitute for Facebook but it can get better. Facebook is only going to get worst.

There are thousands of people who can you help you get started with WordPress. If you are an interesting and passionate person maybe I can help too.

 

 

Posted in Business, Open Source, outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Suddenly

n

suddenly

Posted in Life, Photography | You are welcome to add your comment

Yoga can Wreck Much More than Your (Physical) Body

n

My teacher posted a link to an article titled How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body from the New York Times. Following are some highlights and emphasis forming a subjective extract of my choosing:

“the vast majority of people” should give up yoga altogether. It’s simply too likely to cause harm … Not just students but celebrated teachers too, Black said, injure themselves in droves because most have underlying physical weaknesses or problems that make serious injury all but inevitable … Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class …

But the yoga community long remained silent about its potential to inflict blinding pain. Jagannath G. Gune, who helped revive yoga for the modern era, made no allusion to injuries in his journal Yoga Mimansa or his 1931 book “Asanas.” Indra Devi avoided the issue in her 1953 best seller “Forever Young, Forever Healthy,” as did B. K. S. Iyengar in his seminal “Light on Yoga,” published in 1965. Reassurances about yoga’s safety also make regular appearances in the how-to books of such yogis as Swami Sivananda, K. Pattabhi Jois and Bikram Choudhury.

… a growing body of medical evidence supports Black’s contention that, for many people, a number of commonly taught yoga poses are inherently risky … Russell found that brain injuries arose not only from direct trauma to the head but also from quick movements or excessive extensions of the neck, such as occur in whiplash — or certain yoga poses … Hyperflexion of the neck was encouraged by experienced practitioners. Iyengar emphasized that in cobra pose, the head should arch “as far back as possible” and insisted that in the shoulder stand, in which the chin is tucked deep in the chest, the trunk and head forming a right angle, “the body should be in one straight line, perpendicular to the floor.”

a 25-year-old man was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago, complaining of blurred vision, difficulty swallowing and controlling the left side of his body … The patient had been in excellent health, practicing yoga every morning for a year and a half. His routine included spinal twists in which he rotated his head far to the left and far to the right. Then he would do a shoulder stand with his neck “maximally flexed against the bare floor,” just as Iyengar had instructed, remaining in the inversion for about five minutes. A series of bruises ran down the man’s lower neck, which, the team wrote in The Archives of Neurology, “resulted from repeated contact with the hard floor surface on which he did yoga exercises.” These were a sign of neck trauma …

These cases may seem exceedingly rare, but surveys by the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed that the number of emergency-room admissions related to yoga, after years of slow increases, was rising quickly. They went from 13 in 2000 to 20 in 2001. Then they more than doubled to 46 in 2002. These surveys rely on sampling rather than exhaustive reporting — they reveal trends rather than totals — but the spike was nonetheless statistically significant. Only a fraction of the injured visit hospital emergency rooms. Many of those suffering from less serious yoga injuries go to family doctors, chiropractors and various kinds of therapists.

Around this time, stories of yoga-induced injuries began to appear in the media. The Times reported that health professionals found that the penetrating heat of Bikram yoga, for example, could raise the risk of overstretching, muscle damage and torn cartilage. One specialist noted that ligaments — the tough bands of fiber that connect bones or cartilage at a joint — failed to regain their shape once stretched out, raising the risk of strains, sprains and dislocations …

… modifications are not always the solution. Timothy McCall, a physician who is the medical editor of Yoga Journal, called the headstand too dangerous for general yoga classes

Almost a year after I first met Glenn Black at his master class in Manhattan, I received an e-mail from him telling me that he had undergone spinal surgery. “It was a success,” he wrote. “Recovery is slow and painful. Call if you like.” …

Black is one of the most careful yoga practitioners I know. When I first spoke to him, he said he had never injured himself doing yoga or, as far as he knew, been responsible for harming any of his students. I asked him if his recent injury could have been congenital or related to aging. No, he said. It was yoga. “You have to get a different perspective to see if what you’re doing is going to eventually be bad for you.”

Yoga can wreck not just your body but almost all asepcts of your human being. Improper practice can wreck not just your limbs, but also your inner workings – your breath, your digestion, etc. Improper practice can wreck your perception, your emotional capacity, your relationships and more.

I believe that the greatest threat posed by malpractice of Yoga is that of spiritual abuse. There is in all of us a sense of seeking spirituality. It may be dormant for a long time but when it does come alive it expresses itself in our actions … it seeks experiences, inspiration, teachings and teachers. It is a precious awakening. When it is abused it goes back into hiding and in it’s place remains injury that fills with skepticism and cynism. Of all the possible Yoga injuries this one, I believe, is the hardest to heal.

Being a Yoga practitioner makes you a mechanic of your own being … what you do inside can be healing, expanding, enlightening and also damaging. Ironically, wrecking your body’s limbs is the safest form of “wreckage” because it can be perceived and addressed. It’s the other forms of wreckage that you may not notice but may accumulate over years of practice into systemic failures.

I am thankful to have been educated in a lineage of teachings that place the unique individual at the heart of a practice with a systemic approach of teaching that CAN be applied both in one-on-one and in group classes. I am proud that the names of my teachers are not listed in this article, though it is a missing part of the story. Yoga can be practiced safely and effectively.

I don’t think most people should give up Yoga altogether – there are many ways to injur yourself in this world, at least Yoga is a “path of injury” that leads into a place of light. People should take responsibility for their practices, they should seek better teachers and if they need to learn from self-inflicted harm then so be it.

Posted in Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-08

n
  • is that a fact? http://t.co/kbyhaRqQ #
  • finally found some answers on how to avoid concrete spacer-blocks in Earthship tire-walls http://t.co/OfZgj8Zi #
  • @lifeinromania excellent post on Romanian being brats: http://t.co/aZKupEcZ However: http://t.co/8PYIjnpZ #
  • @raymondpirouz is that a fact too? http://t.co/kbyhaRqQ 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz shall I start a collection? that's an inherent destiny of intellectual knowledge … temporary, fleeting … mostly wrong 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz "From the perspective of subject-object science, the world is a completely purposeless, valueless place" http://t.co/O7Mivtjm #
  • @raymondpirouz oh and … are the consequences of Greenspan's "intellectual growth industry" so beautiful? #
  • @raymondpirouz has the price of that venture been acceptable to you? is there a price that will cease to be acceptable to you? #
  • @raymondpirouz Intellectual knowledge CAN be a growth industry. Question is … what leverages it in that direction? #
  • @raymondpirouz would you be able to tell the difference between civilization evolving and devolving? do you consider devolving an option? #
  • @raymondpirouz No, with the yin comes an excess of yin … you must introduce yang to achieve a better balance of the two #
  • @raymondpirouz or live with an excess of yin … and wait for the messiah to arrive #
  • @raymondpirouz "the overall picture is of moral movements gone bankrupt…the result has been a drop in both social and intellectual quality." #
  • "a whole society that has given up on Dynamic improvement and is slowly trying to slip back to Victorianism" http://t.co/w9ejIESF #
  • @raymondpirouz mankind isn't slow in that department … its moving backwards … devolving … deteriorating … in a intellectual way! #
  • @raymondpirouz "The world was no doubt in better shape intellectually and technologically but the ‘quality’ of it was not good … #
  • @raymondpirouz …There was no way you could say why this quality was no good. You just felt it." http://t.co/xKjfh4es #
  • @raymondpirouz be careful "with the yin comes the yang" is intellectual slouching … sounds right (and smart) but is wrong! #
  • @raymondpirouz and such intellectual slouching is a sign of our times .. it is easy to label it "forward movement" but dat dont make it so! #
  • @raymondpirouz intellectual industry has lost touch with its purpose, its spinning around squirting useless (intellectual) junk #
  • @raymondpirouz you stepped on my shit 🙂 I'll leave you and go make a fresh cup of tea 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz cherry on top for our conversation: Raymond, Twitter, Vagina: http://t.co/RontbP60 (ducking to avoid spam from using v-word) #
  • still not clear on how expansive clay soil on our land will treat an Earthship – this is what I've come up with so far: http://t.co/jsJzLdyw #
  • design: http://t.co/TiVkNJFk "I wanted 2go swimming – didn’t want 2make a career of struggling 2get2 the water." #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-01-08

n
  • is that a fact? http://t.co/kbyhaRqQ #
  • finally found some answers on how to avoid concrete spacer-blocks in Earthship tire-walls http://t.co/OfZgj8Zi #
  • @lifeinromania excellent post on Romanian being brats: http://t.co/aZKupEcZ However: http://t.co/8PYIjnpZ #
  • @raymondpirouz is that a fact too? http://t.co/kbyhaRqQ 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz shall I start a collection? that's an inherent destiny of intellectual knowledge … temporary, fleeting … mostly wrong 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz "From the perspective of subject-object science, the world is a completely purposeless, valueless place" http://t.co/O7Mivtjm #
  • @raymondpirouz oh and … are the consequences of Greenspan's "intellectual growth industry" so beautiful? #
  • @raymondpirouz has the price of that venture been acceptable to you? is there a price that will cease to be acceptable to you? #
  • @raymondpirouz Intellectual knowledge CAN be a growth industry. Question is … what leverages it in that direction? #
  • @raymondpirouz would you be able to tell the difference between civilization evolving and devolving? do you consider devolving an option? #
  • @raymondpirouz No, with the yin comes an excess of yin … you must introduce yang to achieve a better balance of the two #
  • @raymondpirouz or live with an excess of yin … and wait for the messiah to arrive #
  • @raymondpirouz "the overall picture is of moral movements gone bankrupt…the result has been a drop in both social and intellectual quality." #
  • "a whole society that has given up on Dynamic improvement and is slowly trying to slip back to Victorianism" http://t.co/w9ejIESF #
  • @raymondpirouz mankind isn't slow in that department … its moving backwards … devolving … deteriorating … in a intellectual way! #
  • @raymondpirouz "The world was no doubt in better shape intellectually and technologically but the ‘quality’ of it was not good … #
  • @raymondpirouz …There was no way you could say why this quality was no good. You just felt it." http://t.co/xKjfh4es #
  • @raymondpirouz be careful "with the yin comes the yang" is intellectual slouching … sounds right (and smart) but is wrong! #
  • @raymondpirouz and such intellectual slouching is a sign of our times .. it is easy to label it "forward movement" but dat dont make it so! #
  • @raymondpirouz intellectual industry has lost touch with its purpose, its spinning around squirting useless (intellectual) junk #
  • @raymondpirouz you stepped on my shit 🙂 I'll leave you and go make a fresh cup of tea 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz cherry on top for our conversation: Raymond, Twitter, Vagina: http://t.co/RontbP60 (ducking to avoid spam from using v-word) #
  • still not clear on how expansive clay soil on our land will treat an Earthship – this is what I've come up with so far: http://t.co/jsJzLdyw #
  • design: http://t.co/TiVkNJFk "I wanted 2go swimming – didn’t want 2make a career of struggling 2get2 the water." #

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Stuff I Did – Design

n

My career ended on a creative note. For almost 2 years I worked as a software designer.

I got a chance to work with a couple of great guys who had a fresh and powerful approach to design. Their approach went beyond the aesthetics that still seems to dominate software design – the core question was not “is this a good design?” but rather “what good does this design do?”.

It wasn’t an easy concept to market to an industry of software engineers looking to add makeup to their code. Even when we did manage to sell it, it was hard to get it through to customers who still wanted us to beautify their products and preferred to avoid hard questions about the very purpose of their product. Which is a big part of why I pulled out. I wanted to go swimming but I was struggling to get to the water and I didn’t want to make a career of struggling to get to the water.

I don’t have much to show of this part of my career since most projects were within companies and for their products. Also if I were to present some screenshots I would not consider them to be a good exemplification of my work since they are more the work of graphic designers I worked with. It would take a longer story to communicate my contribution to the design. Rethinking a product is not directly reflected in its pixels.So between the required secrecy and the lack of relevancy to my current life this story remains short and mostly a sweet memory for me.

However there was one client that stood out from all the rest. We engaged on an initial “small” project to test the waters (it was their first design process) and in this small project we managed together to tear down a lot of their preconceptions on what makes a product good and in doing that we paved the way for a long-lasting relationship that led the company into a winning streak that I am happy to say continues to this day. I continued to work with them as a freelancer and I am greatful to them for having given me the opportunity to experience the peak of my career years after I considered it over.

My last toughts on design were about it being a process of identifying and designating purpose.

Posted in About, Memory | You are welcome to add your comment

Raymond, Twitter, Vagina

n

If the title of this doesn’t make sense to you … well … yeah!

I was just enjoying a round of back and forth twittering with @raymondpirouz and one of the “topics” (if you can use that word in a conversation made in units of 140 characters) was Intellectual Knowledge … as a growth industry.

This conversation was being had on twitter, which outside my blog is the only other “social presence” I have (and it too is funneled back into my blog). Twitter, I think most would agree, is a … umm … member!? of the “Intelectually Growth Industry” no?  It is a leading internet companies, catering to many millions of people, run by smart technologists backed by smart investors … no?

Well twitter, it seems, wants me to engage it more (I believe the intellectual word for this is “the attention economy”) and one”intellectual” way they’ve come up with to do that is to show me “Worldwide Trends” which, if I click, will suck me further into the universe of twitter and consume more of my attention (make me poorer and twitter richer … in the “attention economy”). I never look at this and so naturally never click it. However Andreea wanted to read up on my conversation with Raymond and she took my computer and after a bit of reading asked me if I noticed the “Worldwide Trends” and I said that I know its there but never look at it. To which she, an intellectual being, replied “yeah, but have you seen it?” …. ahum … so I indulged her and this is what I saw (click the image to enlarge … ahum … the image):

twitter's vagina

That’s …. I don’t know what that is … but despite all my efforts I can’t get “intellectual” into the list of adjectives that would describe it.

Oh and  this is where it all got started: “The ex-chairman of the Federal Reserve himself testified that all his assumptions (based on vast amounts of data) had been wrong.” … is that a fact?

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to add your comment